It’s ben a tough season for the Dodgers and their pitching staff. Despite losing two of three to the Pittsburgh Pirates this past weekend they remain just one game behind the division-leading San Francisco Giants.
Most notable in the Dodgers’s ever-changing starting rotation is the absence of their ace, three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw. The left-hander hasn’t played since June 26 (he went on the DL June 30). He has had some problems with his back, specifically a herniated disc. He won’t need surgery, but the team is taking a cautious approach to Kershaw’s return. The Dodgers are confident their ace, who is 11-2 with an ERA of 1.79, will return sometime in September — just in time for the final stretch of the season.
They are in a tight race with San Francisco and the Dodgers will need their ace and a healthy, consistent rotation to make the post-season and get to the World Series. The bullpen has performed well for most of the season and the Dodger bats have put runs on the board, often in big bunches. In their last six games the Dodgers have scored 32 runs, winning half of those games. Joc Pederson, Adrian Gonzalez, Justin Turner, Chase Utley and especially Corey Seager have kept the Dodgers in the games with their timely hitting. But it’s the starting rotation that keeps manager Dave Roberts up at night.
Brandon McCarthy, Bud Norris, Alex Wood, and of course Hyun-Jin Ryu are on the DL. They miss all of them, but some of the starters that moved into the rotation have had some good outings.
It isn’t all doom and gloom though. Scott Kazmir is 9-6, Kenta Maeda is 11-7, Julio Urías, who just turned 20 on Friday, is 3-2. The Dodgers’ record after Sunday is 65-52.
On Sunday the Pirates won in a blowout, 11-3, after starter Brett Anderson gave up five runs in the first inning and then injured his wrist diving for a ball.
Before the game Dave Roberts spoke to the media about a number of players, including Kershaw. He was optimistic about Kershaw’s return, noting he has been playing catch during the team’s warmups at home. He has also thrown from 90 feet , the distance between the mound and home plate.
After the game he spoke about the loss, Anderson’s tough inning and a lot about the pitching staff. Anderson spoke to the media after the game as well. He said, “Aside from blowing my back out again, or hurting my elbow, it’s probably about the worst first start back.” He added, “Hopefully I can get this out of the way now and be good going forward.”
On Thursday Kershaw and his wife Ellen held the fourth annual Ping Pong For Purpose celebrity ping-pong tournament at Dodger Stadium to help two charities: the Kershaw Challenge and the Find Your Grind Foundation. Kershaw didn’t play due to his injury issues, but he was on hand to co-host with actor Will Ferrell. Claudia spoke with Clayton and Ellen Kershaw plus Ferrell and others.
Claudia Gestro covered the ping-pong tournament and Sunday’s game and filed these video reports. We’ve included her interview with Corey Seager at the All-Star Game in San Diego because he is having a great season: .309 batting average for the season — .462 this past week — with 21 home runs and 56 RBI’s — and he’s playing great defense. You can watch all of Claudia’s sports reports on our YouTube Channel.
Photos and videos by Claudia Gestro.
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